Eclipse Board Furloughs Employees Pending Financing

 - February 19, 2009, 10:39 AM

Although the bankruptcy court approved the sale of Eclipse Aviation to EclipseJet International on January 20, the financing to complete the sale has yet to be finalized. Yesterday, the board of directors of Eclipse Aviation elected to furlough most of the remaining 800 employees “to make the company’s remaining cash last as long as possible and give us the most time to complete the sale,” according to a letter sent to employees by acting CEO Roel Pieper. The judge approved the sale of Eclipse’s assets to EclipseJet International, an affiliate of Pieper’s company Etirc Aviation, which is Eclipse’s largest shareholder. The sale amount is $28 million, in addition to $160 million in promissory notes and 15-percent equity to Eclipse’s senior secured note holders. “We remain confident that the sale is well within reach,” said Mike McConnell, president and general manager of Eclipse’s customer division. “There is so much worldwide turmoil and uncertainty, it’s taking much longer than we thought.” Eclipse will continue paying benefits for the furloughed employees, which include personnel at the company’s Albany, N.Y. and Gainesville, Fla. service centers. There is no deadline for the financing, according to McConnell. During the furlough, work on the Eclipse 500 assembly line is being halted, as is maintenance on customer airplanes at the two factory service centers.